NorthEast United FC cruised to a comfortable 3-1 victory over Odisha FC in their 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) encounter on Sunday. Following their win at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco, Goa, the Highlanders are now third in the league table.
NorthEast United FC took the lead as early as the ninth minute through Luis Machado. Ten minutes later, Deshorn Brown doubled his side's advantage. In the 24th minute, Machado nodded home Federico Gallego's lobbed cross to make it 3-0 for NorthEast United FC.
Bradden Inman did pull one goal back for Odisha FC on the stroke of half-time. However, it turned out to be nothing more than a mere consolation as NorthEast United FC held on to their two-goal lead and emerged victorious.
The Highlanders dominated the proceedings in the first-half and could have scored more goals. When asked if Odisha FC's fragile defensive performance helped his side, NorthEast United FC coach Khalid Jamil replied:
"I don't think it was too easy. It was a difficult game. For us, it was very important to play consistently from the first to the ninetieth minute. We had to keep our concentration high. The boys worked very hard. So, they deserved to get three points. They are a good team. They worked very hard. But, we also worked very hard and got three points."
Despite having a two-goal cushion, NorthEast United FC didn't drop their shoulders in the second-half. Khalid Jamil revealed that the plan was to score another goal after the change of sides.
"After the first-half, we were thinking of scoring just another goal and to control the game. But the players decided that maybe we will score another goal or keep the score the same. But we have to finish the game on a winning note," Jamil mentioned.
Khalid Jamil not taking NorthEast United FC's upcoming opponents lightly
NorthEast United FC have a comparatively easier run of fixtures than fellow playoff hopefuls Hyderabad FC and FC Goa. Their next three matches are against Chennaiyin FC (8th), SC East Bengal (9th), and Kerala Blasters (10th). Khalid Jamil, however, is not taking his side's forthcoming opponents lightly.
"All the remaining matches are tough matches especially the next match (against Chennaiyin FC) which is very tough. So, we have to work hard," Jamil signed off.
NorthEast United FC, who are unbeaten in their last seven outings, are in a favorable position to reach the ISL playoffs.